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Polls and promises Demise of a media baron... More heat than light When online building permits work…. For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Streamlining mandatory third party cover Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Of course, Gujarat is vibrant He continues the focus on social amelioration Sweet news for TN sugar mills When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Strengthen the base... When the President was rendered homeless… GM Technology at last! Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Robber barons everywhere The star of Spencers is no more Make standards certification mandatory... Silver Years of Madras Musings PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Airlines in India: cost and space L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Delhi Chalo... When small is no larger beautiful.. Mersal magnified Computation of GDP – conundrums continue ONGC at KG Basin Moily’s bold thrust Shipping woes of Chennai companies CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Poor quality of university VCs Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Tax agriculture Breaththrough in malaria control The power-full Hindujas Solar thermal shines… Tribute – M V Murugappan Shanti and Sadhana through Music Mu Sigma – is no more Marketing expert Balagopal is no more B H Kothari - a tribute Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Kudos to NDTV... A more liberated TN… A yen for wastage… Funding the un-funded The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ A glass full of corruption No Maha Koottani in TN... A think tank for Chennai Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Where a state respects its litterateurs… Sweeter prospects for sugar Lalu’s envy, India’s pride A rich pool of talent not utilised…. All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Paytm karo... The nuclear option Build close rapport with business leaders Why land prices zoom in TN? More tributes to GR Why this malaise in medical education? Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Welcome GST Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Fortune 500 review No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Revive development banks... Tatas moving out of urea production... The why of tax incentives Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Maximising the micro pricing … When nations steal growth from one another… Tribute Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Kinetic Karnataka The Gulf aviation boom A welcome initiative by the judiciary Delhi is distant CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Modi storms Silicon Valley Rahman at CIC Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai A friendly business group Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Remembering Indira Sivasailam... For whom the bell tolls? EEC at the National Media Centre Gas is the way forward TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Plummeting profits of PSBs Haul over the coal Medical costs hit the roof... Sri Lanka votes for change Tatas moving out of urea production... Cutting the nose to spite the face Secularism and anti-Hinduism The rise and rise of KCP Parliament in paralysis... Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Adharma of opposition politics to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Road development slows down Nuclear power at the nucleus PC’s preference for professionals He saved millions from starvation... Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Building loyalty through the stomach IAS invades NDDB... Cement prices continue to rise… Fortune for Indian Airlines Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Delhi returns to BJP China invests in India Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Multi-faceted Venkat The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more The Jan Dhan bonanza Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Towards speedy justice Tough task taking states together Kulandai was a giant The brown list of Venkitaramanan West Bengal: mindless malignancy London, London Narayan Recognition to role of NBFCs.... GNS - 100: our first subscriber IPL - no surprise this scam Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna No engine for this car Readers' Mail Making ‘my Amaravati’... TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Small units prefers to remain small... Boy, can you beat these? Put expensive assets created to use... The balancing act Delhi is distant… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Shale gas and its shallow future Pharma – overdose of copying S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist SoA @ 80 Contrarian cousins Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Wanted: a second airport for Chennai IPL type auction for VCs? This scant respect for Law Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! The rise and fall of Annamalai University Fuel for thought Five star activism stalls development activity Valli, they are more marginalised Banning booze... Auto components surge… Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Revving up the manufacturing sector Editor's Says Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy How Air-India loses customs... More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Another Indian music maestro at the UN S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Preserving for the future Russi Mody – a tribute Editor's Notes CII projects higher growth… A professional at the helm of IRDA... Things happen by accident and not by design... When Ratan Tata visited SRM Solar, solar everywhere … Discoms deserve better… Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Convulsions in The Hindu A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Muffled voices for merit… Noble nonagenarians... Which side are you, Montek? Quality silica from Neyveli An enemy’s enemy is a friend Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS TELANGANA at last…BUT Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Vibrant Gujarat Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Should we change the official year? A proud Madrasi Protest masters... Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Welcome focus on core competence Alexa – Talking Wikipedia The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Intellectual of rare qualities Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Tribute – UCAL Selvan… L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Come elections, come advertisements... Gay abandon in pricing Waning interest in public discussions… Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Return to king coal for urea... Engineering seats go abegging More Shakthi to Das’ elbow …and of a popular trade leader Music happens Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Wise Presidents Telangana in top gear… An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... An inexplicable neglect Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... The Swadeshi Trump TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Roaring Ro-Ro facility Align crops to agro climate endowments… Quality education through the PPP mode Where is Rajaji? Modi and the lady The sea- saw battle continues... TIAM turns a full cycle TGS- The king storyteller The few handicaps... EVM is tamper-proof Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi
 
A professional at the helm of IRDA...
THE DECISION of Finance Minister P Chidambaram to appoint T S Vijayan as Chairman - IRDA, breathes a lot of fresh air. Vijayan brings with him four decades of experience in life insurance. He had headed LIC with distinction. He can now attend with speed to several of the issues demanding serious reforms.

It required same special effort to break the dominance of the Indian Administrative Service in cornering plum posts post-retirement. But then PC has this in good measure. Incidentally, N Rangachari ( a chartered accountant and an IRS officer) worked hard to formulate the guidelines for regulation and development that led to the establishment of IRDA. Rangachari headed IRDA with distinction and paved the way for opening up the sector for both life and general insurance.

Rangachari’s successors (all retired IAS officers) in their limited tenures, did not show much understanding of the complexities of this highly evolved business. This resulted in intense rate wars and unethical practices that could not be regulated. IRDA has failed to tackle myriad issues. Reforms like increasing the share of foreign investors could not take place. The result: general insurance companies bled, incurring heavy losses on motor and health insurance. For the four PSU companies, profits came from investment income and not from the core business of insurance. This comfort was not available to the private players. In fact a few of these are sitting ducks for acquisition.

Insurance penetration is still low. Nearly twelve years after opening up, there has not been widespread awareness on the need for insurance cover. An estimate puts that a majority of vehicles ply without the mandatory third party insurance cover. The database is weak. Vijayan, one hopes, will focus equally on the development aspects of IRDA as much as on regulation.

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